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Chapter 9, Practice and Frustration

9: Practice and Frustration

The staff had assembled in the War Room, Everyone was in their place, Doctor Mendel called the meeting to order. All eyes turned to Thomas. Thomas looked back confidently at Dr Mendel, stood up and said,

“I will do whatever is necessary to insure the success of the project.” Everyone in the room breathed a collective sigh of relief. Dr Mendel smiled and said,

“I’m proud of you son, I knew we had a winner. That’s why I choose you.” Thomas beamed, and wished Aunt Nan could be there. After a short round of applause, the meeting continued.

Over the next few months, the training became more intensive. Thomas was able to identify all the aircraft that the Technicians flew at him. They had made great strides in giving their aircraft a realistic feel. No more projected images, the new planes were virtually real. Thomas had spent several month’s in the training simulator chamber learning how to catch a real jet in flight without destroying it or it’s contents.

The first time Thomas tried to stop one of these virtual airplanes, he crushed it into scrap metal in his hands; he cried in bitter frustration and would have quit the practice, had it not been for the encouraging words of Dr Mendel’s daughter, now affiliated with the Project working as Thomas’s mentor.

For weeks afterward he practiced catching planes coming in at all angles, until he could stop any jet in mid air smoothly, without even crinkling it’s thin skin.

At the size he was being projected to, his grasp covered the bulk of the fuselage, his index finger behind the wing and his small fingers just before the tail of the craft. Still, he had never considered himself a Giant, the airplanes were just small.

Amongst the human content of the Jets, the largest person was little more than a eighth of an inch tall. At first they were projected as tiny doll like toys, like Ralph’s soldiers, but as his practice progressed, they were programmed to become more animated and lifelike. Thomas’s eyes were sharp; he could make out the limbs, clothing and even facial features of the tiny figures. The Technicians were proud of the detail they put into in their work.

Thomas could not be hurt in the simulations yet the details were accurate to all his senses. If he caught the plane with too much pressure, he would feel it disintegrate. Bodies and chairs and luggage would be seen thrown from the ruined craft, falling helplessly to the ground. He gasped in amazement as one of the tiny people thrown form the craft, grabbed onto his hand to avoid falling. Oil and engine fuel stained his hands. The heat and smoke following an improper impact, although not able to burn him, still was unpleasant enough. “It looks so real!” He mused, and was glad when the mishaps became less frequent.

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